Leonard Zwelling

Let’s talk 2020.

Oy, already?

Yes, already. The Democrats are lining up to run for president including Elizabeth Warren, Joaquin Castro, and others.

But let’s cut to the elephant in the room. That would be the GOP elephant named Donald Trump. More than anything else, the 2020 presidential election will be a referendum on his first term, even as that term is just now half done.

The big question of Trump’s first term is Trump. Is he fit to serve currently? Is he a Russian agent, either by plan or de facto? When will he stop lying about everything and actually accomplish something? Will he even survive his first term without being impeached or resign?

In the first of the articles from the New York Times on January 14, Michael Tomasky makes a cogent case that rather than have Trump impeached or resign, his defeat at the ballot box, although riskier than his removal before hand (he could win again), would be the historically more satisfying outcome.

Tomasky makes the point that presidential power has changed 44 times in the country’s history. Nine times an incumbent lost re-election. Each and every time the transition has orderly and the government and the country moved on. By contrast, only two presidents have been impeached and neither was convicted. Oh yes, one resigned, but he was a crook and had already had his vice president resign in disgrace—for being a crook.

I must admit, though being a believer that the case against Donald Trump will be strong once Mueller can finish his investigation and that there will probably be sufficient reasons to impeach him, he will not be convicted by the Senate and impeachment and conviction is not the way he will leave office. If he has to pardon his children and himself, he may well be forced to resign. But, I do agree with Tomasky, changing the presidency through the ballot box is what the Framers had in mind and would be the better way to go.

That brings us to the second article by David Leonhardt about why it is so important that Joe Biden decide to run for president. I agree here as well.

Joe Biden is old guard when it seems what the Dems need is some new blood. But Biden represents Middle American values and populism that can match the populism that Mr. Trump seems to evoke in the center of the country. Biden could give Trump a battle in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but that’s not the real reason he should run. He should run to make whoever the Dems select the best candidate to take on Trump. The Dems need to field a big slate of people from which to choose and not have a de facto Hillary like candidate ascend to the nomination without a real fight. If a Socialist from Vermont could challenge the eventual candidate of the Democratic Party in 2016, how strong was that candidate after all? Answer, not strong at all. She lost to a TV game show host.

So even though I think two more years of Trump in the White House is likely to be a disaster for the country, the best way to get him out is the way that has worked best in our history. Vote him out. Although, if he quit, because he’s so corrupt he cannot even stand it any more and more importantly, his rabid minions cannot deny his guilt, running against Pence would be ideal for the Dems as well. Pence makes Gerry Ford look like Mr. Excitement.

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